It was a great year for film but not such a good year for the Oscars.
The year brought solid movies like last night’s Best Picture winner “The King’s Speech” and nominee “The Social Network,” but the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony telecast was unusually flat with co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway exhibiting little chemistry and offering few laughs.
It was so bad that a mid-show sequence that found eight-time Oscar host Billy Crystal returning to the stage for a tribute to long-time Oscar host Bob Hope and the Academy’s first telecast in the ’50s, made one pine for those Oscar hosts of yore. One yearned for Crystal to simply take the reins. Even 50-year-old kinescopes of Hope’s oft-repeated jokes seemed fresher and funnier than the schtick Franco and Hathaway delivered.
The show, too, felt off — and I’m not one of these perennial moaners who say the telecast is always too long. Last night didn’t feel overly long — just bad. The off-key kids’ choir singing “Over the Rainbow”— wearing T-shirts and swaying wildly out of sync — was painful. That gave way to a backdrop of the Emerald City and this year’s winners returning to the stage for a sing-along. Oscar has never been known for its production numbers, but to end on such an amateurish, maudlin note was jarring.
The lesbian-themed ”Kids Are All Right,” up for four awards, won none.
Two gay filmmakers — neither household names — ended up with Oscars, though. The Blade couldn’t independently confirm the sexual orientation of sound mixer Lora Hirschberg, a co-winner for her work on “Inception,” but several media outlets are reporting that the woman she kissed before heading to the stage is her partner. Hirschberg also worked on “The Dark Knight,” “Batman Begins,” “Titanic,” “The Horse Whisperer” and “Panic Room.”
And Iain Canning, a 31-year-old Brit who shared the Best Picture Oscar for “The King’s Speech” with Gareth Unwin and Emile Sherman, thanked “my boyfriend, Ben” from the stage. Canning’s credits include “The King of Mykonos,” “Linear,” Mary and Max” and “Hunger.”
Go here for a complete list of the winners.